In an effort to speed up Massachusetts’ coronavirus vaccine distribution plan, Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin is suggesting using polling places in upcoming local elections as a way to get people the first dose of the vaccine.
Galvin sent a letter to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Thursday suggesting that a pilot program this March could test whether it makes sense to give the vaccine to people who are eligible to get the shot “in a nearby and convenient location, after casting their ballot.”
“Much like an election massive vaccine distribution to the public requires organizational efforts, which involve an army of trained temporary workers and enough space to accommodate large crowds with detailed record-keeping,” Galvin wrote in the letter to Baker.
Among the Massachusetts that will be holding elections this March are Newton, Andover, Lexington, Wellesley and Duxbury, Galvin said.
Gov. Charlie Baker is hoping to get more COVID-19 vaccines out to people across Massachusetts.
More communities are holding local elections in the spring, and Galvin said the program could be expanded for them as well. He noted that the elections would overlap with the time when most residents would qualify for their first dose of the vaccination — the two vaccines approved so far require two shots.
“With planning, this opportunity presents geographically organized populations which are specifically identified and where appropriate age can be verified. Because of social distancing protocols which are already in effect, larger premises are being used already for voting,” he wrote.
Galvin added, “It is my sincere belief that such a program will more rapidly achieve the goal of full vaccination.”
Massachusetts is in Phase 1 of its three-phase vaccination rollout, with first responders the group currently getting the shots.
More than 140,000 vaccine doses have been administered in Massachusetts, according to the state’s most recent report. (An updated one will be released later Thursday.) But many more will need to be administered — the state has a population of 6.9 million.
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